Is NBA Betting The Next Trend In The Colorado Market?

Written By Ian St. Clair on 03/05/2021 - Last Updated on July 8, 2022

By now you know that Colorado sports bettors love table tennis.

When it comes to this blossoming market, that’s one of the most riveting developments.

But another passion may have been unearthed when the Colorado Division of Gaming released the January revenue report.

Based on the numbers, Colorado sports bettors enjoy some NBA betting as well.

Yes, it was another record month in terms of handle. That’s the ninth-straight month that has happened.

Colorado also became just the sixth state in U.S. sports betting history to top $300 million in a single month. The state hit $326.9 million in January.

But what stood out is the NBA was the most wagered on sport for the month. Mind you, that’s with the NFL playoffs in full swing.

In January, the Colorado sports betting market wagered $88.4 million on the NBA.

The NFL was a distant second at $74.9 million.

Is this the next trend in the market?

“I think so because it follows what happens in other jurisdictions that we’re in,” Johnny Avello, the DraftKings sportsbook director, told PlayColorado. “The NBA, and basketball in general, is one of the top betting sports after football. So, yes. And it’s such a long season. This year is a little bit shorter, the regular season is 10 games shorter.

“In normal circumstances it starts in November or so and just continues all the way to June. So you get a pretty good dose of NBA for a good half-year plus. I don’t think some of the new offerings that we’re doing like cornhole, and pickleball and things like that, are going to take it over, so I think you’re going to continue to see that trend.”

Why has Colorado taken to NBA betting?

Now to the key question, why has Colorado taken to NBA betting?

It doesn’t hurt to have a team in the Denver Nuggets that just made a run to the Western Conference Finals and is poised to do so (hopefully) again this season.

It also helps to have one of the best players in the world in Nikola Jokić to watch and wager on.

So betting on the Nuggets plays a role in that, but it’s only a piece of the pie.

Since the launch of sports betting here in May, the NBA has attracted $232.7 million in wagers. The league also took the top spot for sports wagered on in August ($38 million).

Keep in mind, the league didn’t restart play in the Orlando bubble until late July and play ended in mid-October.

The NBA then started the current season in late December.

According to Avello, who has been a bookmaker for 40 years, give or take:

“It has great athletes. It’s fun to watch for many. For me, I watch it periodically. I like the playoffs in the NBA. But some people love to watch it on a regular basis. These guys are amazing players. And we have a lot of different ways to bet the NBA on any given night. Triple-doubles. Double-doubles. Will two guys score over 40 points? And we’ll put a pretty good boost on it. So we put up a lot of offerings on it.

“And you can bet the NBA every single night of the week. People also think there are some soft spots in the line and that’s why they like to bet it. And they like to bet streaks also. You have some teams on streaks right now. The Suns are on a little bit of a streak. The Nuggets are on a little bit of a streak. The Mavs are on one a little bit. And you’ve got some teams going the opposite direction — the Rockets and Timberwolves. So they like to bet against teams that aren’t going well. It’s one of those sports that you get it on a daily basis and you find your sweet spot for that particular night.”

Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets appeal to bettors

Since NFL betting was in the playoffs, it was a bit of a surprise to see the NBA at the top of the list.

After all, the NFL is king when it comes to the world of sports and sports betting and it was the playoffs.

No matter how good Jokić and Denver is, the rest of the league was just getting ramped up.

The appeal and attraction of the NBA is apparently strong in Colorado.

“But one of the factors is that the Broncos weren’t involved in the playoffs, right?” Avello said. “I know Colorado loves their home teams because when we first opened up there, I noticed how they were betting all the home teams in the future books and all of the other types of bets we had up involving those teams. Without their team in (the playoffs), they also bet the NFL, but they also found reasons to bet the NBA.”

Jokić getting NBA MVP betting action

As for Jokić, the Nuggets center is on a different planet right now.

Air Serbia is doing things no center has done since Wilt Chamberlain.

On any given night, Jokić could throw up a triple-double. He has nine of them this season, and 50 for his career. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Jokić joins Chamberlain as the only two centers in NBA history to have 50 triple doubles. Chamberlain had 78.

As ESPN pointed out, Jokić is also just the ninth player in history to record 50 triple-doubles, and only Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson did it faster than him, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.

All of that just adds to the appeal to wager on him and Denver right now.

The Nuggets are on a four-game winning streak as they head into the NBA All Star break. They currently sit in the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings at 21-15.

Jokić is also getting some serious action on the MVP betting front.

After Joel Embiid and LeBron James, Denver’s big man is third (+450).

“I think Jokić is a very good player, he just doesn’t maybe have all of the qualities of a LeBron James,” Avello said. “And that’s because he hasn’t been around as long as LeBron James. But in the MVP wagering, Joel Embiid is on a terror right now as far as betting is considered to take over that top spot. The +450 right now is a little short to play Jokić, but he certainly has a chance to win this, especially if the team continues to have a good season.”

Nuggets look for NBA gold

In terms of the Nuggets and their championship goal, there is still hope they can finally get their hands on that allusive NBA gold.

There are teams in front of them and Denver has room to make up in the standings and the odds.

But the Nuggets could use their success in the playoffs last season as motivation to clear that final hurdle and play in the franchise’s first NBA Finals this year.

At DraftKings, the Nuggets are tied with the Boston Celtics at +2,500 to win the NBA Finals.

“As long as you stay healthy, that’s certainly important,” Avello said. “You continue to have no locker room problems, where everyone just plays nice together. Play as a team. And get one of those runs they’ve been on before for the playoffs, yes, it can happen. One good thing about them is they’ve shown that being behind in a series doesn’t frighten them. And that’s important. You don’t want to get shaken. You lose Game 1, a lot of teams at the point lose their confidence. They obviously have confidence knowing that falling behind doesn’t mean much.”

For now, look for NBA betting in Colorado to become a trend and at or near the top of the sports wagered on in the state.

Move over table tennis betting, there’s a new trend in this market.

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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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